Special Collections and Archives blog

July 5, 2019
by special collections & archives
0 comments

Early Katie Lee Influences

            Katie grew up in Tucson, Arizona where she lived in houses her parents designed and built. Her childhood was spent learning music and art from her mother and spending time outdoors with her father and younger brother. In high school, Katie and two close friends explored Sabino Canyon and the Catalina Mountains when they weren’t in school or socializing with friends in town. Through high school and her time as a student at the University of Arizona, Katie acted and sang, furthering her entertainment skills. The experiences Katie had in Tucson set her on the path to become a professional entertainer and to explore nature. Her diverse upbringing allowed Katie to have the confidence to move to Hollywood to pursue an acting and singing career and her connection to the desert environment around her cultivated a deep appreciation for nature and water.



[Sabino Canyon, Arizona] NAU.PH.99.4.4.19 1937 ca.

June 28, 2019
by special collections & archives
Comments Off on Katie Lee in Other Collections

Katie Lee in Other Collections

The Katie Lee Exhibit will be constructed primarily from materials digitized from The Katie Lee collection now housed here at NAU.

However, there are other collections, both at Special Collections and Archives at NAU and elsewhere, in which Katie Lee has been mentioned or photographed. At NAU, these collections include the Tad Nichols Collection and the Richard (Dick) Sprang Collection. The Tad Nichols Collection has been especially helpful for understanding who Katie Lee was and her deep connection to Glen Canyon.


NAU.PH.99.3.1.8.32
Nichols, Tad, 1911-
Katie Lee at California Bar caves. ‘We Three’ Trip – September/October 1955. [constructed title]

For more information about collections with Katie Lee at other institutions in Arizona, please refer to Arizona Archives Online (http://azarchivesonline.org/xtf/search?keyword=katie+lee).

June 26, 2019
by special collections & archives
Comments Off on Exhibit Website and Music

Exhibit Website and Music

It’s week 5 of the Elizabeth M and P.T. Reilly Internship and the Katie Lee exhibit is starting to take shape. The physical exhibit is almost completely planned and the accompanying online exhibit is coming together. Of course, there is still much to be done; from finalizing physical exhibit selections and printing them to adding pictures to the online exhibit, these next five weeks are sure to be a flurry of activity. The physical exhibit will be installed in mid-October and the online exhibit will be available before then (check back here for updates on the virtual exhibit). Included in the online exhibit is a section on who Katie has inspired. One such person in Jessica Larabee of the band She Keeps Bees. Jessica contacted Special Collections and Archives for use of pictures and films for a music video she created. The video and original song by Jessica are about Katie Lee. To see the video, please visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TIlg4CC10Q

NAU.PH.2014.22.8.1.21.69.10

June 24, 2019
by special collections & archives
Comments Off on Songs of Couch and Consultation…An Alternate Album Cover

Songs of Couch and Consultation…An Alternate Album Cover

Katie Lee, Publicity Photo for the Album, Songs of Couch and Consultation. Photo courtesy of Monroe Edelston.

Between 1956 and 1961, Katie Lee recorded three albums about psychoanalysis that were later combined into one album and sold under the title of the original second album Songs of Couch and Consultation. This picture is from the photo shoot for the album cover. The final cover is a picture of Kate laying on a couch with her guitar and a man sitting near her head taking notes. The albums were satires about the popular psychoanalysis movement that was sweeping through Hollywood at the time.

Songs of Couch and Consultation is available to listen to online including on Youtube and Spotify.

June 7, 2019
by special collections & archives
Comments Off on “Let Them Eat Cake…”

“Let Them Eat Cake…”

“Let Them Eat Cake…”

            …and they did, on a boat, in Glen Canyon, in 1956. Here, Katie is writing in a journal while Frank Wright sits. They are drifting down the Colorado River in Glen Canyon with their friend, the photographer Tad Nichols.

            These three friend took numerous trips through Glen Canyon before the dam was completed. Their story will be part of the Katie Lee Exhibit.

NAU.PH.99.3.1.9.136
Nichols, Tad
[Katie and Frank with cake – in boat, the ‘Piute’; this image appears in Tad’s Glen Canyon book on page 5.]
Glen Canyon trip – Flight to Hite Ferry – Boating, camping, and hiking through Glen Canyon [constructed title] October 1956.

June 6, 2019
by special collections & archives
Comments Off on Elizabeth M and PT Reilly Intern Confessions: Week 2: Jerome and Q

Elizabeth M and PT Reilly Intern Confessions: Week 2: Jerome and Q

This week, I have been writing about Katie. This includes her life in Hollywood as an actress and folk singer, where she lived, her relationships, and her writings. As part of the internship, I visited Jerome with my project managers (Kelly Phillips and Sean Evans), where Katie lived from 1971 until her death in 2017.

Katie Lees House, Jerome, AZ. May 2019.

Our first stop in Jerome was Katie’s house. It was amazing to see the view from her back porch looking out over the valley. Her house is a bright turquoise and can be seen from many places in Jerome.

Jerome Mining Museum, Jerome Historical Society, Jerome, AZ. May 2019

Our second stop was the Jerome Historical Society’s Mining Museum. The Mining Museum’s exhibit on Katie does her justice and is a fitting tribute to a person who was beloved and cherished by so many of her friends and neighbors. Seeing Katie’s house helped me better understand her and get a sense of why she loved Jerome so much.

The best part of visiting the Mining Museum and meeting with the museum staff who showed us some the amazing material they’re caring. They passed along several humorous anecdotes about working with Katie. It was a treat learning more about Katie from those who knew her well.

An unrelated highlight of the internship was having lunch with Richard Quartaroli, The Special Collections Librarian emeritus. Richard was friends with Katie and shared several stories about his time with her and his experiences as a river runner. Thanks, Richard, or can I call you “Q”?

As an interesting aside, one of Katie’s more popular songs – “It Must Be Something Psychological” – from her album Songs of Couch and Consultation (1957) was used in an Axe/Lynx men’s deodorant commercial in 2012. It is interesting to see how music can be re-used over time. See the commercial on YouTube here.

Photos taken by Britney Bibeault.

May 24, 2019
by special collections & archives
Comments Off on Elizabeth M and PT Reilly Internship: Week 1 – Research and Planning

Elizabeth M and PT Reilly Internship: Week 1 – Research and Planning

            This year’s Special Collections and Archives exhibit, created by the Elizabeth M. and PT Reilly intern (me, see previous post), will feature and celebrate the life of Katie Lee, a singer, songwriter, actress, river runner, and activist. This summer, I will curate and develop an online and physical exhibit for Special Collections and Archives at Cline Library that will open in mid-October 2019. As this year’s Reilly intern, I would like to share my first week’s progress. I have been reading through her books and going through her manuscript collection. I’m reviewing photographs connected to Katie and the people and places she adored. Below, she is exploring Labyrinth Canyon in Glen Canyon in 1956 – one of her favorite places. Glen Canyon was her escape from Hollywood and performing and became her refuge until the Glen Canyon Dam was completed in 1963. After her Eden was dammed, Katie did not return to Glen Canyon and she advocated for the dam to be removed until her death in 2017.             

Katie Lee in Labyrinth Canyon, Glen Canyon. Photograph courtesy of Tad Nichols Collection (NAU.PH.99.3.1.9.109)


April 10, 2019
by special collections & archives
Comments Off on Introducing the 2019 Elizabeth M and PT Reilly Intern – Ms. Britney Bibeault

Introducing the 2019 Elizabeth M and PT Reilly Intern – Ms. Britney Bibeault

Britney Bibeault, 2019 Elizabeth M and PT Reilly Intern
Image Courtesy of Britney Bibeault

It is our pleasure to announce Britney Bibeault as the 2019 Elizabeth M and PT Reilly Intern. Britney will be working with the staff of Special Collections and Archives to develop virtual and physical exhibits celebrating the life and activities of actress, singer/songwriter, river runner, author, activist, and world class cusser, Katie Lee. Britney is completing her junior year in the Honors College at Northern Arizona University studying anthropology and history.

Britney is the recipient of the Lumberjack scholarship and a member of the NAU Honors Society – Alpha Lambda Delta; she’s been on the Dean’s List since her arrival. Britney is a student assistant in Special Collections and Archives, where she arranged and described the manuscript portion of the Katie Lee collection. She also received the Mary Crawley scholarship in 2018.

To give everyone the opportunity to learn a bit more about Britney, we asked her a few questions…the most important of which is the last question.

What are you studying at NAU?

I am studying history and anthropology with an emphasis on archaeology. I’m fascinated by the study of previous cultures and history and what they tell us about ourselves.

Tell us where you’re from and why you chose NAU?

My family is currently living in Buckeye, AZ, but I have lived in Idaho, New Mexico, and England. I came to NAU because it is in Arizona and it’s close to my family. It’s also a beautiful area where it rains and there are a wide variety of outdoor and recreational activities. Academically, I was drawn to the Honors Program (now College) and the faculty in the Honors College.

What are you hoping to learn from the experience?

Katie Lee in Dungeon Canyon,
Photograph Courtesy of Tad Nichols Collection, NAU.PH.99.3.1.9.88

I am hoping to learn how to present information to the public in a way that is relatable and relevant. I had the opportunity to arrange and describe Katie’s collection, which combines my interest in history with the study of earlier cultures. Katie is a well-know figure in the region and she was involved with so many different things, such as acting, signing, writing, activism, etc. While I was going through her collection, I was learning about early human and indigenous activity in the Glen Canyon region of the Colorado Plateau. These things excite me!

What interested you about the Reilly Internship?

The Elizabeth M and PT Reilly Internship interested me because I would like to eventually work in a museum or archives, sharing and interpreting historical information to the public. The internship provides the perfect opportunity to learn how to develop an exhibit, tell a compelling story, and fabricate and install an exhibit. As I mentioned above, I processed the manuscript portion of the Katie Lee Collection and found myself wanting to learn more and understand her in a broader historical context.

Katie Lee, Glen Canyon, May 1954
Photograph Courtesy of Tad Nichols Collection, NAU.PH.99.3.1.5.3

Do you have a favorite Katie Lee quote, story, photo (PG13 rated), and/or something from her life that you would like to share with us?

One of the fascinating aspects of Katie Lee that isn’t quite as well-known is world travels. When she was in her late 50s, she inherited some money and used it to travel the world and kept detailed journals of her trip which are absolutely amazing. It is a dream of mine to travel around the world and Katie’s trip is inspirational.

What inspires you outside of class, studying, and the internship, and why?

I have many things that inspire me outside of class, studying, and the internship. My family and friends inspire me to grow and become a better person. I am inspired by the beauty around me in nature and other people. I’m also inspired by makers (people who crochet, knit, dye yarn quilt, essentially just make things) because I hope to be able to create beautiful things that people enjoy.

Are you in camp dog or cat…and why?

I love cats. I have a cat, named Abe, and Abe is the kewlest kat around. Anytime I see a cat, I get so excited. I actually have a tattoo of one of my cats. I like dogs; okay, I only like Corgis, because they’re dogs trained as cats, and they’re cute.

February 26, 2019
by special collections & archives
Comments Off on Happy Birthday Grand Canyon National Park

Happy Birthday Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon from Yaki Point
Photo Courtesy of Josef Muench Collection

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the Grand Canyon National Park. President Woodrow Wilson designated Grand Canyon as the 15th national park on Feb. 26, 1919, after decades of lobbying to protect the Canyon.

Two NPS Rangers, Grand Canyon National Park
Photo courtesy of Grand Canyon National Park Museum Collection

Today, the Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most visited national parks in the country. It see approximately 7 million visitors a year, most of whom see the Grand Canyon from the South Rim Village. It is one of the most iconic national parks in the national park system and wows the viewer with breath-taking vistas that stretch for over twenty miles.

President Roosevelt at Rust Camp, Grand Canyon, 1913
Photo courtesy of Edwin Jessop Marshall Collection

The Cline Library Special Collections and Archives is hosting an exhibit celebrating the centennial of the Grand Canyon National Park. Splendor and Spectacle: The 100 Year Journey of the Grand Canyon National Park was curated by Ms. Hana Lipke, a senior Honors College student at Northern Arizona University, with guidance and direction from Kelly Phillips, Archivist for Digital Programs, and Sean Evans, University Archivist. The exhibit is located on the second floor of the Cline Library in Special Collections and Archives. It is available for viewing Monday through Thursday form 9:00am – 6:00pm and Fridays from 9:00am – 5:00pm. The exhibit opened on October 23, 2018 and will be available through September 2019. For those of you unable to visit the physical exhibit, we have an online version of the exhibit freely available here.

NAU Honors College Senior and the Elizabeth M and PT Reilly intern, Ms. Hana Lipke
Photo courtesy of Hana Lipke

Complementing the exhibits, the Cline Library partnered with the Arizona State University Library and the Grand Canyon National Park Museum to digitize over 3,000 letters, photographs, reports, and other primary source material documenting the transition of the Grand Canyon from its pioneering, free-enterprise period to becoming a national park. The 100 Years of Grand project is both a celebration and exploration of one of America’s most fascinating national parks. The project was just featured in the Guardian Weekly.

We encourage everyone to visit and experience the Grand Canyon and the Splendor and Spectacle exhibits.


January 14, 2019
by special collections & archives
Comments Off on 2019 Elizabeth M and PT Reilly Internship Announcement Celebrating the Life of Katie Lee

2019 Elizabeth M and PT Reilly Internship Announcement Celebrating the Life of Katie Lee

Katie Lee in water-filled pothole, Llewellyn Gulch. Photo Tad Nichols

Northern Arizona University

Cline Library

Archival Internship Announcement

Northern Arizona University’s Cline Library invites applications for the 2019 Elizabeth M. and P.T. Reilly Internship. The 2019 Reilly intern will work closely with Special Collections and Archives (SCA) staff to develop physical and virtual exhibits that celebrate the life, work, and experiences of Katie Lee.

Katie Lee, cooking dinner, Glen Canyon. Photo Tad Nichols

Lee (1919-2017) was a Hollywood actress, folk singer, river runner, writer, ardent advocate for the preservation of Glen Canyon, and a vociferous champion of the sensuous and unique beauty of the Southwest.

The Reilly intern will draw on SCA’s vast and rich resources to develop exhibits that reflect the spirit, passion, and independence with which Katie Lee lived her life. To learn more about Lee, see the finding guide to her collection, a selection of digitized items from her collection, and Beth and George Gage’s short documentary film Kickass Katie Lee.

Katie Lee, Grand Canyon, circa 1953. Photo Tad Nichols

SCA envisions the exhibits as a retrospective examination of Katie Lee’s life that celebrates her love for the Southwest and Glen Canyon. The intern will explore and synthesize the various aspects of Lee’s life to tell the story of a woman who witnessed her beloved Glen Canyon buried beneath Lake Powell, an experience that fueled an indefatigable drive to oppose future dams, ensure that rivers flow freely, and to protect the Southwest canyonlands and deserts. The successful intern will get to know Katie Lee and her relationship with the Southwest and share her life and experiences with the world through the exhibit.

Katie Lee, with Jim Rigg, Playing the Guitar, Grand Canyon. Photo Tad Nichols

SCA contains one of the most comprehensive collections of Grand Canyon and Colorado Plateau history in the world. More than 700 collections containing millions of photographs, correspondence, journals, maps, films, and oral histories that document the human and natural history of the Colorado Plateau from a variety of perspectives from the 19th century to the present.

Duties and Opportunities: The 2019 Reilly intern will assume primary responsibility for the virtual exhibit (web-based, developed using WordPress).  The intern will also provide significant support for the development of the physical exhibit, from its interpretive text to its design and fabrication.

The Reilly intern will gain practical experience in:

  • Research
    • Synthesis of primary and published sources
  • Exhibit Planning (team-based)
    • Storyline development, content selection,and interpretation
    • Webpage design, creation, and digital storytelling
  • Public speaking (presentation to library staff upon completion of the internship)

The Reilly intern will work 40 hours per week for 10 consecutive weeks.  The successful candidate will select a 10-week block between May 13 – August 16, 2019. The workweek schedule offers some flexibility.

Stipend and Housing: $4,500 (no benefits included) total. The Reilly intern will be paid in bi-weekly installments to reach the total of $4,500.  On-campus housing is subject to availability. For more information, please consult https://nau.edu/Residence-Life/Housing-Options/Summer-Housing/Renting a room in the community is also a possibility. The successful candidate must be willing to relocate to Flagstaff for 10 weeks and underwrite his or her own food, lodging, transportation to work, and parking.

Qualifications:  The preferred candidate will be a highly motivated and organized student in information science, museum studies, history, or related field working toward a career in a library, museum, or archives setting. Graduate students need to be currently enrolled in an accredited program with an anticipated completion date of August/September 2019 or later. Undergraduate (junior or senior)  students studying applied indigenous studies, geography, history, environmental history, anthropology, or other appropriate areasare also encouraged to apply.

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities Required:

  • Strong ability to write creatively and objectively while employing advanced research skills
  • Demonstrated experience with web design
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Familiarity with video and audio software tools, HTML editing, and the Adobe Creative Suite products
  • Ability to work as part of a team
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office products

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities Preferred:

  • Knowledge of Colorado Plateau, Glen Canyon, Katie Lee, and Southwest history
  • Familiarity with archival practice
  • Experience with WordPress

Application Deadline: March 1, 2019.  To apply, submit the following documents to:

Peter.Runge@nau.edu or

Peter Runge, NAU Cline Library, Box 6022, Flagstaff, AZ  86011-6022:

  • Letter of application addressing your qualifications, including hyperlinks to previous online exhibits or relevant projects you have created/designed
  • A 250-word writing sample. Prompt: Tell us about a person or place that has inspired you.
  • Résumé or vita
  • Copy of current transcript
  • Names and contact information for three references

For more information, contact Peter Runge via email at peter.runge@nau.edu or phone at (928) 523-6502.

Flagstaff has a population of about 70,000, rich in cultural diversity. Located at the base of the majestic San Francisco Peaks, Flagstaff is 140 miles north of Phoenix at intersection of Interstate 17 and Interstate 40.

The university is committed to a diverse and civil working and learning environment.  All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply.